I was in my early teens--junior high school age. In the best of years, there wasn't a lot of money in my parents' household. Seven kids, three bedroom/one bath house. Yeah, it was tight to say the least.
This particular year, my father lost his job right around Thanksgiving. When Christmas rolled around, there was still no job, little money, and lots of people expecting gifts under the tree. With my newly learned sewing skills, thanks to my home ec course in school, I helped my mother make nightgowns for my sisters. In secret, I made Mom an apron. On Christmas morning, our stockings were stuffed with fruit and nuts--no toys.
One thing my parents had a lot of was pride. No one knew how dire our financial straits were. Or...at least, that's what we all thought. Until our neighbors and friends knocked on our door two nights before the holiday. They came inside with a gigantic basket filled with all the makings of a perfect Christmas dinner.
I talk about that particular Christmas a lot. Why? Because it was a year when the true meaning of the holiday became apparent to a sullen, miserable teenager (me). And each year, I try to repay the generosity of our neighbors by making someone else's holiday a little brighter.
Your turn. What's your favorite Christmas memory?